Valerie Bertinelli, who starred alongside the Golden Girls veteran in Hot in Cleveland, paid tribute to White via Twitter. “Rest in peace, sweet Betty,” she wrote on Friday, December 31. “My God, how bright heaven must be right now.”
News of the Hollywood icon’s death broke just days before her 100th birthday. “[I’m] amazed,” White told Entertainment Tonight of her approaching milestone birthday in an interview published on Wednesday, December 29. “No, seriously, I’m the luckiest broad on two feet to be as healthy as I am and to feel as good as I do!”
Just two days later, her close friend and agent, Jeff Witjas, confirmed the news of her passing in a statement. “Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever,” he told People. “I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don’t think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again.”
Ryan Reynolds, who became friends with the veteran actress while filming the 2009 rom-com The Proposal, commemorated White with an emotional social media post.
“The world looks different now,” he tweeted. “She was great at defying expectation. She managed to grow very old and somehow, not old enough. We’ll miss you, Betty. Now you know the secret.”
In the days ahead of her 100th birthday, White joked that her former costar couldn’t “get over his thing” for her. The Free Guy actor jokingly retaliated via Twitter, writing, “I’m absolutely sick of the media exploiting past relationships just to drive clicks.”
Plenty of other comedians and actors praised the SAG Award winner for her comedic talents, which she’d been showcasing on TV since 1949. Kathy Griffin, who worked with White several times, also shared a memory of the star’s guest appearance on her show My Life on the D-List. The Mary Tyler Moore Show veteran surprised Griffin’s mom on set.
“My Mom about fell OUT!” the Illinois native recalled. “And I got to spend the day on film and off camera, with my mom and Betty White. It was basically a dream girls day. Betty legit treated my mom like a friend.”
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